The U.S. House of Representatives unanimously passed a bill sponsored by U.S. Rep. Gary Palmer (R-Hoover) on Tuesday that aims to provide transparency for deals made between government agencies.
The Settlement Agreement Information Database Act, or SAID act, requires federal agencies to enter information on "settlement agreements and consent decrees" into a public database, which will include a list of state and local governments and other impacted entities, Palmer said. Any information deemed too confidential will still need a public press release explaining why it can't be made public under the new act.
"The American people have been kept in the dark about legally binding agreements made by federal agencies for too long," Palmer said. "Legal settlements made by these agencies must be transparent. With no database or recordkeeping standard, the public can only access this information from quickly written press releases, at best. This bipartisan bill will substantially increase government transparency. The SAID Act will provide transparency, oversight, and accountability by making these records publicly accessible."
The Office of Management and Budget will manage the database, he said.
"Open government principles are key to fulfilling the promise of a nation ruled by the 'consent of the governed,'" Palmer said before the 425-0 vote. "Open government requires transparency and public participation, which are vital to ensure the public's continued trust in our government."
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